What should be found within an M&E framework / plan?

I was asked this question by a client some time ago. After some thinking about something that I felt I should have already known, I drafted up a one page guidance note for my client. The contents of the note also benefited from a discussion about appropriate expectations about M&E frameworks with other M&E people on the MandE NEWS email list

I have attached the one page guidance note here: What should be found in an M&E Framework / Plan?

Please feel free to post your comments on this document below. And to suggest any other documents or websites where this topic is covered.

PS: 28 October 2011: This one-pager contains a summary of the proposed contents of an M&E Framework for a DFID project, prepared this year

PS: 12 February 2014: Benedictus Dwiagus Stepantoro has sent me this link to the DFAT (was AusAID) Monitoring and Evaluation standards that were updated in 2013. He points especially  to standard no.2 on Initiative M&E System there, and comments:

” I use it all the time as reference in checking the quality of M&E system in program/project/initiative, as I often receive 3-5 M&E System/Plan documents every year to be assessed.

 The main key feature for an M&E system there are:

 – Should have an ‘evaluability assessment’, as basis for developing the M&E system.

– Have clarity on program outcome, key output, approach/modality and the logic around them

– Have Evaluation Questions, or Performance Key Questions/Indicators

– Methodology/Tools – including baseline

– Should have sufficient resource (people with right expertise, fund for M&E activities.etc)

– Scheduling of M&E activities

– Costing/Budget allocation for M&E

– Clear responsibility

….People often shows me a logframe or a matrix of indicator and proudly state that their program have an “M&E System”,… But,…. For me, .. A logframe alone, is not an M&E System. A matrix of Indicators alone, is not an M&E system”

9 thoughts on “What should be found within an M&E framework / plan?”

  1. Thanks Rick, this is quite handy as a check. As you say, it should already be known. However, I’ve seen quite a few frameworks that do not include anything on resources.



  2. It is certainly an exhaustive list. I would add right at the beginning a definiton of what is meant by M&E. I find enormous variations in what people mean by monitoring, by evaluation and by monitoring&evalaution.

  3. Thanks for the great write up! I have not fully studied it. I would suggest also include the following as elements in the M&E Plan

    —How will monitoring data be stored?
    —How will monitoring data be processed/analysed?
    —How will monitoring data be shared/used?

  4. M&E Plan should be viewed as a summary Performance Management Tool. It should thus contain all the necessary elements to make it complete and robust. It should be closely intertwined with the Theory of Change and the logic of change. It should be a product of a pluralistic approach so that its architecture reflects the essence of the development effort. Otherwise, good sharing and guidance.

    By Martin Opolot

  5. Hey this is quite interesting as you realy find difficulties in differentiating between evaluation and monitoring.I also think you need to have indicators in order to proceed with monitoring and as well as with evaluation.Now my problem lies with identifying indicators.Can one assist me with that.

  6. Really good one, I have reffered it as I am currently involve in desinging the M&E framework for my programme.

  7. I am seeing this quite belatedly. The issues you have put to the fore are right. Basically, M&E framework structure ought to encompass the following:

    – Purpose and scope of the framework within the target organization;
    – Development of indicators (if not provided) from the project/programme objectives;
    – Establishing the baseline data for the indicators and setting targets for the same;
    – Identifying the information needs, data collection methods and designing data collection instruments;
    – Agreeing on frequency of data collection and assigning responsibilities for data collection;
    – Establishing the appropriate data analysis procedures
    – Designing reporting formats
    – Identifying stakeholders whom to share progress reports with
    – Reviewing the prevailing environment within the organization to undertake M&E and providing the necessary recommendations which should boarder on, for instance, on issues of budget adequacy for M&E, relevant capacity to undertake M&E and even attitude towards M&E (is it being appreciated or it is being done, maybe, because it is a donor requirement)

    Could I get in touch with Martin J Opolot.. looks like I can learn something from him regarding this.


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